Nearly 5,000 Indian students from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Rajasthan etc., who are stranded in Ukraine, have sent an SOS to the Indian government on Friday appealing to evacuate them as soon as possible.
Almost all them are MBBS students at Kharkiv National Medical university and are now camping at the underground metro station in Kharkiv.
Talking to The Indian Express, Shivang Sharma, a fourth year student who hails from Kapurthala city in Punjab, said that with shelling at brief intervals, the only places that are safe are underground. “Our families back home are worried and the Indian government should evacuate us at the earliest. India has no issue with Russia so we can be evacuated from the Eastern side to the Indian Embassy in Moscow. Evacuation from the western side will take 17-18 hours more,” he said.
Anushka, another 4th year medical student, said that they keep going to their flats when the shelling stops. “But we immediately return to the metro station if we hear any noise,” said Anushka, who belongs to Himachal Pradesh.
Echoing similar sentiments, Fateh Veer Singh from Punjab, Rahul Shama from Rajasthan and Pooja from Himachal, all pursuing MBBS, said that they are getting food but are living like the homeless at the metro station. “We want to go home as soon as possible. We have approached officials in the Indian Embassy and have also dialled the helplines but are yet to be evacuated,” Anushka added.
Akashdeep, another student from Haryana, said, “Our parents have also sent our appeal to the helpline numbers of the district administration of our respective states and are waiting for a response.”
Meanwhile, the helpline number at the DC Hoshiarpur office received calls from six parents on Friday.
A Faridkot man whose daughter has gone to Ukraine to study said she was to return on Friday morning but her flights were cancelled.
Another student, Sagar from Amritsar, had gone to Ukraine two years ago and his parents are hoping the Indian government will put its best efforts to bring back all countrymen stuck in Ukraine. Another parent from Chandigarh, whose daughter is stuck in Ukraine, said, “We are very worried and our government should evacuate all students and other countrymen who are stranded there”.